published: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Hammock Inn opens; Christmas concert planned
By DOROTHY L. HARRIS
Special to the News-Sun
SEBRING -- The holiday season is rapidly approaching and the Friends of Highlands Hammock have scheduled a choral concert to celebrate the Christmas season. Area high school students will present a Christmas concert on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. in the park's picnic area.
This outdoor concert will provide a variety of seasonal favorites and surely help everyone get into the holiday spirit. While enjoying the music, plan to drop in to The Hammock Inn and meet the new concession operators.
Longtime resident Deborah Reeves and her son Benjamin Hulitt have softly opened their business, keeping the rustic feel and flavors that have made The Hammock Inn so popular over the years.
Reeves lives in adjacent Hardee County and has thought about operating the park concession for a very long time. When her son relocated from South Bend, Ind., this summer, the time seemed right. Hulitt said he considers this a divine appointment as he has dreamed of operating his own restaurant for nearly two decades.
Hulitt spent his snowy winter seasons working as a chef and doing construction in the summer months. Now that he has relocated to Florida, he decided it was time to jump into his dream. "I consider myself a Picasso of culinary arts," said Hulitt. "I like to create a food experience that makes people happy and doesn't cost too much."
Local folks will probably be very happy to try his gator Philly cheese steak or gator sausage, egg and cheese biscuit. "I make my own gator sausage," says Hulitt, who clearly has a passion for something just a bit different. "We are going to have a variety of unique items and classic favorites on the menu. Right now we are having a soft opening, but plan to have all our menu items available by the first week of January."
On that menu will be the ever-popular wild orange pie that has been ubiquitous with Highlands Hammock State Park since the 1940s. Benjamin plans to return to the original style pie, fashioned similar to a Key Lime pie. Both are on the menu, as is pecan pie, ice cream and French cheese cake.
Sweets aren't the only offering however, as they serve breakfast and lunch every day; as well as dinner. "We will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with extended hours on Friday nights when we stay open until 8 p.m."
Breakfast includes biscuits and gravy, eggs, pancakes, omelets and more. Lunch fare boasts Benjamin's build-your-own-burger, B.L.T., "Whitey's Wings," soup and a barbecue pulled pork sandwich that has already gotten rave reviews. For dinner, the fish-and-chips combo, Southern fried chicken and pasta dinners all come with sides and average about $10 per person. Steak is on the menu for just a few dollars more.
"We want people to enjoy the experience," said Hulitt, who adds they provide table service so patrons can come in, sit down, relax and visit while they wait for their food to be served to them.
On Saturday, they will have a limited event menu for the concert, but are looking forward to meeting the community. We hope you will stop in for some holiday music and refreshments at Highlands Hammock State Park.
Dorothy L. Harris is a Park Services Specialist at Highlands Hammock State Park.
Small Banner Ads